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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Jason Merritt, am: 30.04.2004 ]

Timesbold kommen aus Brooklyn und klingen überhaupt nicht so. Von der Hektik einer Großstadt ist auch auf ihrem grandiosen neuen Album "Eye Eye" nichts zu spüren und so entfalten sich wieder sehr subtile und eindringliche Harmonien, die nicht zuletzt aufgrund der oftmals eher ausgefallenen Instrumentierung zu gefallen wissen. Auch durch ihr sehr bescheidenes und unspektakuläres Auftreten schließt man die sympathische Band sofort ins Herz. Ich sprach mit Mastermind Jason Merritt über New York City, George W. Bush und diesen herrlichen Optimismus.


Musicscan: To me, Timesbold sound like the antithesis of what a city like New York seems to be about: introspective, quiet, melancholic, warm and atmospheric. Why do you think that is?

Timesbold: Indeed, that's why I wanted to bring the band to New York City, where a little quiet may be needed every once in a while.

Musicscan: Do you think your music is directly influenced by your immediate surroundings, especially the city?

Timesbold: The city seeped into some of the subject matter in the songs, and the decision to approach the New York stage with a thing that draws people in as opposed to trying to overpower them was inspired by the feelings of city life, but I grew up in a rural area so I may have learned to value of the quiet before I got to the city.

Musicscan: You are known to incorporate a great variety of instruments in your sound. Does this stem from experimentation or do you already have very specific sounds in mind when writing songs?

Timesbold: The folks in the band tend to decide what sounds they think best support the themes I approach with the lyrics. We're interested in all kinds of music, and we love the sounds different instruments can make. Different sounds and combining instruments from different cultures also invest the songs with a whole other arena of meaning.

Musicscan: What is the biggest difference between your debut and the new album for you personally?

Timesbold: The first record was written with just myself and a guitar, while on the new record the songs were written for this band to play, so I was able to step back and let the band have a lot more imput. This record was very much a band project while the first was sort of a songwriter/producer project.

Musicscan: Did you approach this album any differently than you did the last one?

Timesbold: Indeed, because Timesbold is now a solid band rather then a revolving door of collaborators.

Musicscan: Do you feel part of the NY music scene? What are the pros and cons of being musically active in a city with such a huge variety of different kinds of outstanding musicians and musical genres?

Timesbold: I never was good at joining clubs, or being part of a scene. I have many friends with bands in New York but I don't feel like we're in a club. I recently left New York for the West coast, so I think the Brooklyn base for the band is about to change. I found that in the city, with so much going on all the time, that I stayed indoors more and isolated myself most of the time, I think I was in search of a quiet space. So I'm hoping the West coast will provide that.

Musicscan: Would you say there is also an openly political dimension to your music? I am particularly referring to songs like "Vengeance Day", which I read as a direct response to the politics of the Bush administration.

Timesbold: I want to be a responsible and aware representation of an American. It is impossible to ignore the political climate we currently find ourselves in, but at the same time, I'm a songwriter, and I want to make things that can maybe live longer than I will....so I try and address these issues in a way that allows them to be applied to any culture in any time period.

Musicscan: Would you say you are optimistic?

Timesbold: Someone told me yesterday that I said once that I am too cynical to be an optimist, but I will say that I care about people and I do hope for change.

Musicscan: What do you do when you are not involved with Timesbold or music in general?

Timesbold: I honestly am not very good at life when I'm not doing something music releted. I do try and write and make pictures, but I tend to keep that stuff to myself.

Musicscan: What inspires you, not necessarily limited to music or art?

Timesbold: I'm often inspired to make things out of what others have thrown away. But I never really know where the stuff is going to come from, and I'm often surprised by the sources.

Musicscan: How far do you want to take the band? Would you say it is the top priority in your life at this point?

Timesbold: It is my favorite thing to do with myself, but where it goes really isn't up to me. We make it a rule to only work when we're invited to do so, so as long as people ask us to make another album or come and play a concert we'll continue to.

Musicscan: What are the plans for the near future?

Timesbold: We will be coming back to Europe to play shows in May and June, past that there's no way of knowing what'll happen to us. Maybe I'll go live in a redwood tree for a while or learn kickboxing. I'd like to write a book, but I don't know if I'm old enough to have any business doing that.

Musicscan: Current favorite record, book and movie?

Timesbold: I make it a point to not have favorites, but that last record I heard that I really liked was Edison Woods "7 Principals Of Leave No Trace"...the last movie I saw that I loved was "28 Days Later" and the last book I sort of re-read that I love was "The Gospel Of Thomas" which is one of those gospels that was sort of kicked out of the biblical canon for being heretical.

Musicscan: Anything you want to add, comments, remarks?

Timesbold: Just that the other members of the band are almost more important if not much more important then I am, and they are Max Lichtenstein who produces the records and plays mostly keys and drums, Tony San Marco who plays stringed instruments galore, Jesse Sparhawk who can play almost anything you throw at him, and Eli Schneider who fills the room with a big old double bass.

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